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OAKLAND -- With one hour to spare before a hospital planned to remove Jahi McMath from her ventilator on Monday, the family struggling to control the fate of the brain-dead 13-year-old was granted another week -- enough time, they hope, to arrange moving the girl to a long-term care facility across the country.

The family and its attorney filed documents in two separate courts to stop Children's Hospital Oakland from turning off the girl's machines as planned at 5 p.m.

At 4 p.m., an Alameda County Superior Court judge extended an order forcing the hospital to keep Jahi on a breathing machine until 5 p.m. Jan. 7. A state appeals court also issued a 24-hour stay, declaring that Jahi must remain on the ventilator through 5 p.m. Tuesday, until the court can hear the family's case.

Chris Dolan, right, attorney for the family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, conducts a press conference with uncle Omari Sealey, left, and grandmother Sandra
Chris Dolan, right, attorney for the family of 13-year-old Jahi McMath, conducts a press conference with uncle Omari Sealey, left, and grandmother Sandra Chatman outside Children's Hospital Oakland, Monday, Dec. 30, 2013 in Oakland, Calif. ( D. Ross Cameron/Bay Area News Group)

"I let my daughter know, 'You're getting prayers from all over the world, not just in the community, but literally all over the world,'" her mother, Nailah Winkfield, said after visiting with her daughter early Monday evening. "We won't stop -- I believe my daughter is alive.

"I don't care what they say; she's moving. If you go in a room with your child and talk to your child and they respond to you, you're going to believe your child is alive. I'm not trying to hold onto a corpse -- that is a live girl in there."

The court victories came in the face of seemingly evaporating options, as two California facilities over the weekend withdrew offers to accept Jahi, who was declared brain-dead after a Dec. 9 surgery to remove her tonsils and clear tissue from her nose and throat to help her breathe.


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With the newly-extended order, the family plans to keep Jahi on the ventilator long enough to have her flown to a facility in New York, "an organization that believes in life," according to family attorney Christopher Dolan. The girl's uncle, Omari Sealey, said the family has contracted with an air ambulance to fly her across the country under the watch of a California doctor.

As of Monday, however, officials at Children's Hospital said they had not heard from the facility's medical staff, a requirement before any transfer could take place. Hospital spokesman Sam Singer described paperwork submitted by the family spelling out the girl's transfer as "faulty."

Singer added that doctors would comply with the court orders but added that attorneys for the facility would file motions opposing the family's request "so this tragedy may have a conclusion."

Monday's events were the latest in a series of twists in a case that has brought a national debate to Oakland. While most medical professionals agree brain death is a specific diagnosis from which no one returns, Jahi's family has been driven by religious faith, and support has poured in from around the country in the hope that she may one day wake up. More than 800 individual donors have given more than $27,800 to an online site to raise money for Jahi's transfer to another facility.

Attorney Dolan said the case was about the family's right to determine what to do with their daughter, no matter what the hospital or doctors want.

"What's important for people to know is that this case is about Jahi, but more importantly, it's about choices," he said. "Who gets to make these choices regarding children and health care and this most intimate and fundamental choice -- will you live or die? Was it the family who brought the child into the world? Or was it the hospital, who may have made the mistake that's taken her life?

"I would fight just as hard if they were making the decision to take Jahi off a respirator. This is about choices. No matter how they try to characterize it, it's about empowerment, choices and the rights of people."

The family's unwavering hope was rejuvenated again Monday, as her grandmother said Jahi has been moving her legs and responding to her mother's voice, and her uncle said they have produced video to prove it.

"Jahi is moving when her mother speaks," Sealey said Monday afternoon. "We have video; our attorneys have just produced it to the hospital's attorney. We have a pediatrician who has seen Jahi who has sworn that she is not dead."

Sealey told reporters that the family may release the video to the public on Tuesday. Without addressing Jahi's case specifically, Singer said that brain-dead patients sometimes experience involuntary muscle movements.

On Monday afternoon, Jahi's grandmother, Sandra Chatman, told reporters that her granddaughter was responding to sounds and touch.

"I know we're going to have victory today," said Chatman. "She's moving her body. Her vital signs are good. ... I believe that Jahi can recover."

One symbol of the family's hope remains tucked in Chatman's purse: pearl earrings Jahi took off before surgery. Chatman had the pearls in her purse Monday and said they will never leave her possession until Jahi wakes up.

The hospital, however, has said Jahi has been dead since her diagnosis on Dec. 12 and said it is extremely rare for someone who is declared brain-dead to be moved to another facility.

"This is one of the most tragic situations imaginable," Singer said. "No amount of prayer, no amount of hope and no amount of any medical procedure will bring her back."

Winkfield said she would never stop praying for her daughter.

"If I didn't fight for her, they'd say 'That mother is no good, she didn't fight,' and now I'm fighting for her, and now they say 'She's doing too much.' So the only thing I can do is what I know how to do and what my mother taught me how to do, and that's to fight for your children.

"Because my daughter can't fight for herself right now -- I'm her voice. My brother's her voice. Everybody who's praying for her -- all of those people are her voice."

Staff writers Gary Peterson, Matthew Artz, and Mark Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.